A man from Gaston Co. goes to the Ukrainian border to donate school supplies


With a car full of pit kits, Joe Lenihan remains determined to do what he can during the two weeks he’s there.

CHARLOTTE, NC — As the number of refugees leaving Ukraine now stands at 3.5 million, people around the world want to help.

This includes a Gaston County businessman concerned about their welfare, especially the children.

Joe Lenihan first spoke with WCNC Charlotte on March 13, 10 days before he left for Poland. However, after landing in Europe earlier this week, he ran into a problem as he was not tested for COVID-19 before leaving the United States.

RELATED: Ukrainian Teen Helping Refugees Will Go To College In The Triad

After testing negative there, he was cleared to land in Warsaw, Poland.

Lenihan was able to pass school supply kits through Warsaw Central Station and assess the treatment of refugees.

“When I distribute the packages to children and mothers, there is elated joy and they are very grateful but there is very little communication,” Lenihan said. “I wish I could have more.”

RELATED: Couple flee Ukraine, reunite with grandchildren in South Carolina

With a car full of supply kits, Lenihan remains determined to do what he can during the two weeks he is there.

“So far I have been able to distribute probably over 200 supply kits to children, mostly at train stations,” he said.

Lenihan said his next step is to connect with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Poland and travel to another point on the border of Poland and Ukraine.

Contact Jane Monreal at jmonreal@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

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